At first, after the Chapman killing, people lived in terror. The streets of Whitechapel were deserted in the late-night hours.

Then the days began to pass, and despite the fact that the outcry remained in the papers and the vigilante committees continued to function, women began to move about again. They had to survive.

Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was showing in London; Peter took Laura and Megan to see the play, and they enjoyed the fine acting. Yet, after the play, Peter discovered that even the actors— due to the nature of the play— had been interviewed by the police, and that seemed to cause him a melancholy that deeply disturbed Megan. No word of Peter’s fears had ever been whispered to Laura, but she was a loving and devoted wife who saw his depression. She thought he was working too hard, and she encouraged him to stay home. Peter obligingly remained put for a week, but then grew restless. He had to continue his work.

Megan would not think of allowing him to do so without her.

As September passed, she began to breathe more easily. The murderer had moved on elsewhere, many believed. She knew that Peter was innocent, and on a more personal note, she was relieved to assume that Aaron had found greener pastures to haunt and had opted to leave her alone.

Then the killer struck again.

Twice, in the early morning hours of September 30.

At a time when Peter had gone out to seek a cab, only to disappear.

They had been attending a sick child at the home of Melville and Ana Charlton; she was a laundress, he a carman. They and their four children lived in the bottom floor of a three-story dwelling off Providence Street. Peter went out, and did not return.

Megan chatted reassuringly with Ana, who rocked her sick baby, then, as the time passed, she grew increasingly nervous. Peter did not come back for her to tell her that their hansom had arrived, and at last, she excused herself to Ana and went out in search of him.

Fog swirled low on the ground. The lamps offered little illumination against the shadows in the night. “Peter!” she shrieked his name, and she began to run.

The streets began to look alike. Narrow here, wide there, dark shadows that seemed to live and breathe with lives all their own haunted every nook and cranny. “ Peter!” she cried again, and began to run. And run. It seemed she ran throughout the night, from street to street, shadow to shadow.

Along Berner Street, she first heard the cry of “Murder!” And slowing her gait, she drew her cloak about her and came closer and closer until she heard the murmurs of workers and neighbors who had come to gawk as the police stood guard over the body.

“Another one!” cried a raggedly dressed woman.

“A woman dead,” sighed a carman, shaking his head.

“Slain!” said the young woman at his side.

“Throat slit!” clucked an old man.

“Still warm, poor creature, when they found her!” whispered the elderly woman at his side.

“A monster, surely, for she was murdered in just minutes, so say the police patrolling the area!” said the carman.

“Poor thing isn’t butchered at least!” murmured the old woman.

The old man stared down at her. “Like as not, he didn ‘t have time.” Megan turned away. Stumbling down the street, she worried desperately about Peter, wondering at her own sanity. Could he be right? Could he be doing these terrible things?

No, she told herself, no! She knew Peter. She had come to know good and evil. Peter was good.

But where was he?


There was a rustling sound. Sean awoke instantly. He slept with his .38 special on the night stand, within split-second reach, and he had always prided himself on his ability to awaken in a flash.

Lately he hadn’t been doing so good on the “flash” part. He was sleeping more deeply. He had never been plagued by nightmares before. Maybe he did need to go see the old voodoo woman as Mamie had suggested.

The sound was Maggie, slipping from bed. He lay back for a minute, watching her, trying to warn his anatomy not to get too excited at the sight—it was morning, and they needed to get going. But Maggie was beautiful, and the mind cannot always rule the body.

She left the bed, unaware that he watched her, and she stretched, arching her back, and he was reminded of an elegant Lladro statuette. He pulled down on the sheets. No good. They continued to tent.

She turned and caught his eyes, smiling. “You wake at the drop of a pin. I wanted to get coffee on.”

“I used to wake at the drop of a pin. I’m not quite so good at it anymore. Getting old.”

“Oh, come now. You’re nearly a spring chicken.”

“Honey, I’d be one tough spring chicken,” he assured her.

Then he saw that her gold-tinted hazel eyes fell along the sheet, and she smiled with a small shrug, meeting his eyes again. “Well, you look wide awake.”

He grinned back. “You just seem to have an eloquent way of saying, ‘Rise and shine, boys.’ ” Maggie laughed. He kept watching her, his eyes grave. “Of course, it is morning, and time is limited, and I wouldn’t want to coerce you or anything.”

“I do have to get to work, and—”

“We both want to go by to see Callie. Not to mention that I am in charge of the most bizarre homicide mystery to hit New Orleans in decades. Still ...”

“When someone is so very wide awake ... well, it would just be a shame to waste what’s... so awake,” she said huskily. She came around the bed. He eased up on an elbow, pulling her against him. He nuzzled her belly. Teased its softness. His tongue flickered over her flesh. Her fingers threaded into his hair. He nuzzled lower. She groaned, body arching.

“How long do you need?”

He paused. “Well, I think I’m supposed to exaggerate— only slightly, of course—and say, ‘Honey, I could last all day and all night.’ But at this particular minute, I think ... about two, three minutes. If I’m lucky, five.”

“Damned good, ‘cause five is all we’ve got!” she whispered.

She was incredibly sexy, straddling over him. He cupped the globes of her breasts with his hands and felt the violent rush of pleasure as her body gloved his. Sexy or no, though, he suddenly wanted the upper hand, he felt a strange need to be the aggressor. He caught her waist, rolled them both without breaking contact, and took top position, impaling her deeply with a searing flash of nearly violent desire. Then her arms were around him and he groaned, and let nature itself take its course.

Afterward, they both lay dead still for several seconds, weak, spent. Then they both bolted up, making a mad dash for the shower.

“Hey!” Sean protested.

“I’m the guest. And you were the one who was so ... wide awake.”

“Oh, like you weren’t willing.”

“I try to be obliging.”

“What are we arguing about? I can solve this.”


“We shower together.”

She shrugged. “Don’t go asking me to soap things for you. We really are out of time now.” They were out of time, so they quickly showered and dressed and grabbed paper cups of coffee down on the street.

The closer they came to the hospital, the more nervous Sean found himself becoming. Sure, there had been guards on, and long ago, he had learned to trust his fellow officers. If anything had gone wrong, he would have been called.

As they walked to Callie’s room, he kept quickening his pace. “Is there a reason we’re running?” Maggie asked.

“No.” But he didn’t slow down.

Frank Ducevny, a young beat cop, was sitting in the chair in front of Callie’s door, chatting with a nurse’s aide as he accepted coffee from her.

“Hey, Frank. This is Maggie Montgomery. Maggie, Frank. How’s it going, how is the patient?”

“She had a rough night. Nightmares, tossing and turning.”

“Withdrawal,” Sean said briefly. “But how—?”

“Oh, she seems to be fine this morning. I popped in when I took over from the five-to-seven a.m. guy.

She was sweet, a little rueful, and told me she dreamed she was wrestling with all kinds of demons last night.”

“She’s still got a long way to go,” Sean said. He and Maggie entered Callie’s room together. She was propped up in her bed. Her face remained pale, but her eyes were clear and sparkling when she acknowledged the two of them. “Hey, you guys!” she said weakly, but with pleasure. “Thanks. Really.

Thanks for coming back.”

“Of course we came back,” Maggie said, taking her hand and sitting by her side. “We said we would.”

“So, how’s it going?” Sean asked.

“It’s tough,” she admitted. “You wouldn’t believe the dreams.” She shivered, and looked at Sean.

“Rutger was in them. He was into some kind of a bondage thing.”

“Rutger?” Sean said worriedly.

“Don’t be so concerned—apparently, I was dreaming. Or hallucinating. The doc said I might have trouble with stuff like that for a while. I mean, if Rutger had been here, I’d be dead, right?”

“And there was a guard on your door all night, a cop, right?” Maggie said.

Callie nodded complacently. “Oh, yeah. One of them was a good-looking son of a gun. I had a few weird dreams about him, too. I mean weird, and I’m not sharing!” She laughed. A pretty sound. A young sound. Then she sobered, looking from Sean to Maggie. “Guess what?”

“What?” Sean asked.

“My—my mom called. Apparently, there were some news cameras out there yesterday. She’s going to come for me this afternoon, and she’s going to go with me to a special clinic out West and pay for me to go through a rehab.” Tears sprang into her eyes, and she tried to smile at Maggie. “My mom. My mom is coming for me.”

“Oh, Callie, that’s great!” Maggie said.

Callie had leaned forward. Maggie hugged her, patting her back, soothing her, congratulating her. Sean watched, leaning against the wall. He thought about what Mamie had said about Maggie. She had a good aura. But something wasn’t quite right.